Dear Android tablet users, there’s some good news. There’s a Chrome update rolling out this week that includes a handful of tablet-friendly abilities, some of which were plucked right out of the desktop version of the browser app.
First up is the visual tab grid, which works similarly to how Chrome tabs are grouped on Android. The visual tab grid lets you see a small screenshot of each tab you have open when you swipe up from the bottom of the screen. It’s also been configured to work on foldables—meaning you can tap between sites without squinting to figure out the link. This feature will be beneficial if you’re often navigating between tabs. I’m constantly flipping between Reddit, mobile Twitter, and my Tamagotchi shopping site on the Galaxy Z Fold 4 when I have it splayed open in tablet mode.
I often let out a blood-curdling scream when I’m in a hurry and accidentally close a tab I need. Google’s hoping the new side-by-side interface coming to Chrome for Android tablets will help cut down on this since it will hide the close button when it’s in this mode. The ability includes an auto-scroll feature to help you cycle through tabs by simply swiping left on the browser screen.
The latest update also enables users with the ability to drag images, text, and links from Chrome and drop them into apps like Gmail, Google Keep, or Google Photos.
A tab groups feature, which already exists on the desktop version of Chrome for Mac and PC, is coming soon but Google doesn’t have a date yet. It also mentions that these features will work on the new Pixel Tablet “when it launches next year.” That’s still all we know about the fabled first-party tablet. What should be a relative, run-of-the-mill feature drop feels like Google reminding us to stay tuned for its upcoming tablet.
All we have are this tablet’s breadcrumbs. We know it’s coming in 2023 and that it’s accompanied by a speaker dock that makes it look like a Nest smart display. But we don’t know the specs or if it will have all the ingredients to compete with Apple’s iPad—and the other Android tablets that have managed to hold it down this long.
The Chrome for Android tablets update is rolling out now through the Google Play Store. It’ll take a few days, but it’s easy to tell if it’s reached you—check the app in Play Store on your tablet device, tap About this app, and then scroll down until you see the date when it was updated. I’m especially curious how Chrome’s new visual tab grid will work when opening and closing the Galaxy Z Fold 4.